As well as being the leading social network for business professionals, LinkedIn also helps millions of users develop the skills they need to get ahead in business. LinkedIn Learning has a library of over 16,000 courses from expert instructors, with topics ranging from customer service to artificial intelligence.
Niamh O’Leary is the regional manager for talent and learning solutions at LinkedIn, responsible for new business acquisition across Australia and New Zealand. “We focus on how our customers can leverage LinkedIn to attract talent, to build their brand and retain that talent. Then we work with customers ranging in size from midmarket to enterprise.”
As part of that goal, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that LinkedIn has wholeheartedly embraced the concept of continuous learning. The 2023 Workplace Learning Report shows that skill sets for jobs have changed by approximately 25% since 2015 — a number that’s expected to double by 2027.
This is particularly true for sales professionals. “In sales, you’re always looking for an edge,” explains Daniel Hill, regional sales manager at LinkedIn. “Once you start doing the same thing as everyone else, it’s no longer effective. There’s no edge anymore.”
In such a dynamic occupation, it’s essential to keep up with what’s going on in the industry and carry on learning new skills — particularly if you’re running a sales team. Even with well-known brands, where prospects already know who you are and understand your solutions, you still need to continuously look for ways to create more value for your buyers.
One of the biggest challenges in recent years has been the Covid pandemic, and many businesses are still feeling the impact. With a prevailing sense of uncertainty, today’s buyers have very different needs and concerns compared to a few years ago.
For Niamh, knowing exactly what those challenges look like is vital. “It’s important for my reps to understand all of those competing priorities and what the new buyer cycle looks like in today’s world. Where there might have just been a few stakeholders before, now there can be ten or more. How do you cut through the noise?”
“Our big challenge is finding the right people to speak with,” adds Daniel. “Once we’ve engaged them, we then need to help them set their assessment criteria and navigate their internal process for procurement.”
Niamh and Daniel both wanted to ensure their teams had the knowledge and skills to have the biggest impact, acquiring customers faster while increasing conversions.
As a result, Niamh made the decision to carry out additional sales training. “I like the idea of having an external voice to LinkedIn. It’s a huge organisation and we have so many resources and so much sales enablement, but it’s good for sales teams to hear that external voice and get a different perspective.”
Having followed Aaron’s sales content for some time, Niamh was particularly impressed with his emphasis on what’s working in sales right now, showing sales teams how to reach out and engage with buyers today. “He understands the current economic challenges, what that landscape looks like and exactly what buyers need from us.”
Flow State’s training focused on top of funnel activities, helping reps have the right mindset when initiating that first conversation. For example, instead of just competing against the status quo, salespeople have to address their prospect’s FOMU: the fear of messing up. The training also helped the sales team master the specific tactics to stand out, such as the best techniques for using video in the sales process.
The training has helped give the teams a new perspective on their sales, changing their daily practice. “It was very interactive,” says Niamh. “There was a lot of value in the group discussion, which was really positive. Reps were sharing the obstacles and the trends that they were seeing, with deep dives into current scenarios and live coaching. Aaron was well-prepared and had a lot of engaging resources.”
Daniel was particularly impressed with how the team retained so much of what they’d learnt, something he puts down to Aaron’s presentation. “Aaron has a very unique approach. He has a real passion for sales and that comes through in his delivery. He uses plenty of narrative and storytelling, which generates a lot more retention than when you just put on another slideshow… The guys are still asking when we can get him back for more training.”
The feedback from the training has been positive, with everyone enjoying the value-packed sessions. “We now have a deeper understanding of the buyer in this current environment and their different priorities, along with the tactics we can use in our conversations,” says Niamh.
The training had something for everyone, according to Daniel. “For a new salesperson, Flow State’s training was an in-depth, comprehensive onboarding into the art of outbound prospecting. If you’re an experienced rep, then it’s important to continue to learn. Things change so rapidly that it’s really hard to keep up unless you’re speaking to people who are out in the market and seeing what’s happening in real time.
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